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Old 23-05-2008, 13:28   #1
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Unhappy Airlines and PFD CO2

In the last two months, I've traveled to the BVI with American Airlines, and to Bermuda with Jet Blue, in both cases with my Mustang PFD as checked baggage with CO2 bottle attached, without problem.

Returning from Bermuda last week with US Airways, my co2 was removed ($75 to replace) by security on the instructions of the airline. It was explained to me that this was not a TSA requirement and not required by other carriers. (Since August 4, 2007, the TSA permits the CO2 cylinders with an Inflatable PFD through their security checkpoints.)

Be aware the US Airways web site is not clear on the issue of PFDs.
Under Baggage>Special Equipment they suggest that kayak equipment can include a life vest, but under the Paintball section they say that Compressed gas cylinders are not permitted for travel on US Airways.
Most airlines make a specific reference to PFDs' The US airways site does not.

Their customer relations department responded that they will consider my comments which pointed out that their policy is at odds with the TSA and other carriers.

In the meantime I would not recommend travel with US Airways if you plan to arrive at a sailing destination with a working PFD.

If you'd like to add your comments try customer.relations@usairways.com
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Old 23-05-2008, 14:08   #2
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Thanks for the info.

George
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Old 24-05-2008, 05:11   #3
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The issue of CO2 cylinders for PFDs has been batted back & forth since 9/11; with the government position reversing every few months.
It “appears” that the cartridges are currently allowed, at the discretion of the carrier.

The charged carbon dioxide (CO2) cartridge on the inflatable is a Hazardous Material as defined by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Hazardous Material Regulation (49CFR175) and also a Dangerous Good as defined by the International Air Transportation Association (IATA). These same rules apply whether you take your inflatable as carry-on or check it through.
The Regulation requires that you declare the hazardous material prior to boarding the aircraft.
There is a 49CFR175.10, Exception 25* in the USDOT Regulation that allows the carriage of a charged inflatable PFD (one PFD per passenger and one spare cartridge), but leaves the final decision to the Individual Air Carriers whether or not to accept them on the airplanes they own.
IATA has almost identical wording.

* [25] “With approval of the aircraft operator, one small carbon dioxide cylinder fitted into a self-inflating life-jacket, plus one spare cartridge, may be carried by a passenger or crew member in checked or carry-on baggage.”
Goto: Section

Remember these regulations may not be applied consistently, and may change. If a TSA screener prohibits an inflatable PFD from passing their checkpoint, ask for the supervisor and refer to 49 CFR 175.10 (25).

A check of published company policies produced these results:

* Alaska Airlines - No mention of self-inflating life jackets in their baggage policy
* Continental Airlines - Accepts one carbon dioxide (CO2) powered inflatable life jacket as checked or carry-on baggage. The life jacket may be packed in a checked or carry-on bag or carried as a single item in lieu of a checked or carry-on bag
* American Airlines - No life jackets inflated by CO2 cartridges allowed
* Delta Airlines - Accepts one self-inflating life jacket that contains one small carbon dioxide cylinder as checked baggage only
* Northwest Airlines - CO2 cartridges are allowed in carry on and checked baggage for self-inflating life vests. Two cartridges may be installed in the life vest and two spares may be carried. CO2 cartridges may not be carried for any other purpose.
* Southwest Airlines - Allows self-inflating life vests with two small gas cylinders and two small spare cylinders in checked baggage
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Old 24-05-2008, 10:03   #4
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Seems funny in a way. Don't all those airline life jackets have CO2 cartridges in them?

George
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Old 24-02-2009, 22:26   #5
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AA Now allows CO2 Inflatable PFDs

It seems that American now does allow life jackets inflated by CO2 cartridges on board but in checked baggage only. I have not tried it yet but their web site: http://www.aa.com/aa/i18nForward.do?p=/travelInformation/baggage/restrictedArticles.jsp shows it as allowed under the heading Self Inflating Life Jackets.
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